||Add To My Personal Library
June 9, 2006
Vol.28 Issue 23|
Page(s) 4 in print issue
On The Go
A Look At Leading Mobility Software
Welcome to the mobile millennium. The computing power of a 6-pound, Web-enabled laptop from five years ago now fits neatly into a pocket. However, PDAs, Palm devices, BlackBerrys, and smartphones rarely function as a remote users primary computing device and often need to synchronize with desktop applications to update email, calendar, contact information, and even data files.
Enter mobility software. Also known as mobile middleware, these solutions manage the synchronization of mobile applications with their desktop counterparts while users are disconnected from the company network. Additionally, these products manage multiple connection types and accounts, provide remote management for IT administrators, and even provide automatic message delivery over IM and SMS services.
Mobility software solves a number of challenges unique to mobile computing. A mobile device can connect in a variety of ways for synchronization. Mobility software recognizes and chooses the best available connection and can prioritize the data being sent. Often, users are only able to connect briefly or suddenly lose their connection. Instead of starting over with the complete data transfer each time the device connects, synchronization picks up where it left off.
From the IT departments perspective, mobility software offers the ability for administrators to monitor the overall health of the hardware as well as push updates, patches, and policies and install software remotely.
Companies are realizing that cell phones are not enough. To achieve maximum value out of wireless connectivity, businesses are turning to solutions that transmit wireless voice and data in a single device.
Analyst firm Gartner points out that organizations that implement wireless mobility solutions improve their productivity as much as 30%. Tangible results continue to drive the enterprise adoption of mobile technologies, including mobility software. Venture Development Corporation's 2006 Enterprise Mobility Solutions report estimates that the mobile hardware, software, and services market will reach $33 billion by 2009.
Although synchronization with existing desktop applications such as email, contacts, task lists, and calendars has long been the linchpin of mobility software, the ability to proactively push messages to mobile devices in real time—instant messaging and SMS—is rapidly gaining ground in the enterprise and is predicted to soon overtake email as the primary online tool for communication. Fostering new methods of message delivery, organizations are testing the waters with real-time communication via IM, SMS, and text messaging.
Recognizing the potential risks of using a consumer-based IM product such as Yahoo!, MSN, and AIM, organizations have begun installing enterprise-class IM systems and management products within their own networks. The Radicati Group reported that in 2005 the average IM user sent 37 messages a day and expects that number to grow to 93 IMs per day by 2009. During the same period, enterprise use of public IM networks is anticipated to decrease from 70% in 2005 to 4% in 2009, as organizations gain control over the deployments of IM on desktop and mobile devices. Understanding this trend, mobility software vendors are starting to integrate support for IM into their products.
With the advances in storage, memory, computing power, and wireless Internet availability, mobile devices are not just for communication but now provide access to the Web, corporate directories, sales force automation, CRM systems, inventory and field service applications, databases, and documents. Mobility software is also growing to hook into more applications and services than ever before. And on top of all this functionality and integration with existing application, it has to be secure.
Lets take a look at some of the mobility software packages available today that deliver many of these features.
iAnywhere OneBridge Mobile Groupware
iAnywhere OneBridge Mobile Groupware
$250 per user
Provides asecure, cost-effective delivery of email, calendar, contacts, and tasks to mobile devices independent of device or connection type
OneBridge Mobile Groupware from iAnywhere is an out-of-the-box solution leveraging existing installs of Microsoft Exchange, Lotus Notes/Domino, and Novell GroupWise to include mobile devices. Organizations can extend their corporate email, calendar, contacts, tasks lists, expense reports, and custom Notes applications into the hands of their mobile workforce.
Through iAnywheres Live Connect, administrators can automatically disseminate updates and information using an IP-based push technology, which means end users dont have to worry about synchronization.
OneBridge supports a variety of mobile platforms (Windows Mobile, including Windows Pocket PC, Pocket PC Phone, and Smartphone; Palm OS; Symbian; and OMA Data Sync clients) and connection types (GPRS, GSM, Wi-Fi, infrared, Bluetooth, and cradle).
On the security side, OneBridge meets the rigorous FIPS 140-2 requirements for end-to-end security using a combination of strong authentication and encryption.
Susteen DataPilot Corporate
Susteen DataPilot Corporate
Lets users program and synchronize contacts, emails, calendars, and even ringtones and images between mobile devices and a PC
DataPilot software from Susteen includes calendar support, a phone book manager, an SMS manager, Internet data connect capability, image editing, and a ringtone composer. Data stored on the phone can easily be backed up and restored.
Supporting more than 300 different handsets on the market, DataPilots flexibility lets organizations implement a cost-effective data synchronization and backup method throughout the enterprise without the added expense of standardizing handsets. Susteen offers a corporate license for its software that can be used with 25, 50, 100, or unlimited handsets.
Mobilizes back-end sales force and field service applications using XHTML to wirelessly extend workflows and processes for delivery on mobile devices such as cell phones, handhelds, and tablet PCs
Its one thing for a sales force to keep customer contacts at the tips of their fingers, but porting CRM applications to mobile devices can significantly increase productivity as well as customer satisfaction.
Air2Web offers a complete suite of wireless products in 2CRM that helps organizations increase their productivity by mobilizing customer-centric employees. CRM applications and workflows are easily ported to mobile users through XML APIs designed to connect to the back-end CRM/FFA/SFA applications and systems. Based on XHTML (a reformulation of HTML as an XML application), 2CRM allows forms-driven applications to be delivered and updated on mobile devices, so remote sales reps can easily populate the corporate CRM database without going through a series of complicated motions for data transfer including paper-based methods.
2CRM provides flexibility by being network-independent and supporting multiple mobile devices and transmission channels. Integrated security using encryption and strong authentication are a plus—keeping customer data safe. In addition to 2CRM, Air2Web offers a number of other mobility software packages centric to marketing, enterprise alerting, call centers, instant messaging, and texting.
Intellisync Mobile Suite
Nokia Intellisync Mobile Suite 6
$160 per user
Mobility suite that includes applications providing the abilities for users to synchronize email and PIM applications and automatically distribute content to mobile devices along with robust security and management
For medium-sized to large enterprises looking to mobilize their workers, Intellisyncs (recently acquired by Nokia) Mobile Suite provides comprehensive and integrated mobilization functionality to meet the needs of even the most demanding global organization.
The Intellisync Mobile Suite software is composed of the following components: Wireless Email for receiving email, calendar, contacts, and other updates from most groupware/email servers, including MicrosoftExchange and Lotus Domino, on practically all standard mobile devices, including Palm OS, Pocket PC, and Windows Mobile-based devices. Like the Air2Web products, Intellisync uses XML for easy access to CRM, SFA, and collaboration applications. There is also an Express version included for smaller deployments. Data Sync lets organizations mobilize their CRM, ERP, and supply chain applications to handheld devices, as well as laptops and tablets. File Sync automatically updates and distributes both files and internal online content to mobile devices. Mobile Systems Management is the security and device management component that provides granular control over every facet of a mobilized work force from a centralized console.
Circuit Systems Fone Folio
$5.99 per month
Subscription service that helps intermediate files between mobile phones and PCs
For smaller organizations, Circuit Systems Fone Folio—which is actually a subscription service—helps intermediate files between mobile phones and PCs.
Any cellular phone (including some RIM BlackBerry devices) that is Java MIDP 1.0-enabled or has a WAP 2.0 browser and has 256Kb of heap memory and Internet access can run Fone Folio. There are two components of the product: a Microsoft Windows PC client that transforms standard files such as documents, spreadsheets, and images files and a Java application on the mobile handset that accesses and displays the files.
Using simple drag-and-drop with the PC client, access to files is loaded on to the mobile phone through a Fone Folio account with 1MB of compressed space. This holds approximately 500 pages of text or 256 pictures. Additional space can be purchased. All data is compressed and encrypted during transfer to ensure security and minimal carrier charges. When original documents are changed on the PC, changes are synchronized with the mobile version as well.
Mobility software simplifies the lives of mobile users and the IT staff that is responsible for supporting their computing needs. As organizations continue to deploy mobile computing solutions, the need for mobile middleware will continue to grow.
by Sandra Kay Miller
Buying Tips |
Recently acquired by Nokia, a leader in mobile computing, Intellisync believes it is critical to look for vendors with extensive experience in the handheld and mobile PC environment when choosing mobility software for the enterprise. Here are some of the points to cover when choosing mobility software for the enterprise.
Provide a wide array of choices for synchronization management
Reduce synchronization times
Optimize resources on mobile devices
Scale to fit the enterprise
Integrate into existing infrastructure
Support existing applications